Throughout the last year, more and more employers gave their employees the option to work from home. Many of us have realized, the home office can either be the most productive place in the home or the most chaotic. It all depends on how the office is designed, how it is run and how disciplined we are. Here are some tips to make your own home office as productive as possible.
Keep Personal Intrusions to a Minimum
When you work from home, there is bound to be some overlap between work life and home life. After all, your office is in your home, along with your kids, your spouse, and all the other realities of everyday life. Even so, it is essential to keep work and home separated as much as possible.
Scan your home office regularly for the stuff of everyday life, from the game console your kid left on your desk to the remnants of yesterday's dinner. Keep your home office as clean and professional as you can; it will help you concentrate and get more done.
Light Things Up
It is hard to be productive when you are squinting at the computer screen or struggling to read your latest contract. A well-lit office is a productive office, so don't skimp on the lighting. You do not need to install a fancy skylight in your home office, but a well-positioned ceiling light or floor lamp can substantially light up the space.
You may want to experiment with different wattages and light bulbs until you find the best lighting solution for your home office. Some people prefer the softness of fluorescent lighting, while others are more comfortable with bright LEDs. Regardless of what you choose, the right lighting can enhance your productivity and your comfort.
Speaking of comfort, an ergonomic design can be a godsend to those of us who work from home. Start by looking at your chair and noting how comfortable (or uncomfortable) it is. Life is too short to put up with a chair that hurts your back or leaves your knees aching at the end of the day. Don't be afraid to invest in a quality office chair. After all, you will be spending the majority of your days there.
An ergonomically designed desk and keyboard can also enhance your comfort and boost your productivity. A desk with easily adjustable height controls is always a smart choice, especially when paired with a pull-out drawer for your keyboard and mouse. Ultimately, a properly designed workstation is essential to a productive workday. In the last few years, zero gravity workstations have gained popularity, as they allow you to work without back pain.
Stay Up to Date
Your computer equipment plays a significant role in the productivity of your home office. Keeping your computer, tablet, and other devices updated with the latest patches and software updates can protect you from harmful viruses and costly breakdowns.
Set up all your devices to download and install updates automatically. You can schedule the updates for the middle of the night to keep the impact on productivity to a minimum. The result of these updates should be a faster, cleaner, and more secure home computing environment.
Declutter Your Life
Make removing clutter a regular part of your home office routine. Old paperwork and other detritus can pile up and get away from you. Taking an hour or two each week to clear out the trash and leave your home office sparkling clean will make you feel better and help you be more productive.
You may even want to consider investing in a handheld scanner to transfer receipts and other paperwork to electronic form. Newer scanners have character recognition built-in so that you can search your scanned paperwork by keyword. The time you save is well worth the extra cost.
Inspire Yourself to Succeed
Whether you decorate your home office with inspirational posters or pictures of your kids, the right décor can make a huge difference. Look for things that inspire you, then place them strategically around your home office. Working from home can be hard, but the right inspiration can help you see it through.
Working from home can be a dream come true or a nightmare. It all depends on your attitude, preparation, and how good you are at tuning out distractions. Whether you are telecommuting for a big company or making your own way in life, creating a productive home office environment is an essential part of your success.